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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Bidding for the Future of Fandom

  • The sports memorabilia industry faced unique challenges over the past two years.
  • Pristine Auction supported the industry throughout and has built a massive online collectibles community for the future.

When sports stopped last year, everyone from the players on the field to the announcers in the booth and the ushers in the aisles felt the impact. Despite the lack of spectators in seats, however, fans still found ways to feel close to the games they love—they just moved the bleachers to the internet.

In a matter of months, fans went fully digital and formed thriving online communities full of people united by their shared love for everything sports. Even the sports memorabilia industry—which relies heavily on in-person events—was able to move out of the convention center and into the future. Now, passionate collectors have found their new home at Pristine Auction.

Over the past 18 months, Pristine Auction helped foster and support the online collectibles community in order to provide memorabilia buyers and sellers a platform to support their small businesses, while giving fans even greater opportunity to track down and trade one-of-a-kind items around the world. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the collectibles industry is experiencing a renaissance, as myriad new collectors are minted every day—and Pristine Auction president and founder Jared Kavlie is expecting bigger things ahead.

“Collectibles as a whole saw a huge boom during the pandemic,” says Kavlie. “Additionally, e-commerce saw a boom during that period. Because we encompass both spaces, our company saw huge growth during the pandemic.”

According to industry analysts, collectibles sales now exceed $5 billion per year with no ceiling in sight—Pristine Auction alone expects to soon surge past $100 million in annual sales, making it one of the largest online auctions in the space. In fact, the company played a vital role in helping the collectibles community survive and thrive after industry cornerstones were forced to cancel live events, providing alternative platforms for both the National Sports Collectors Convention and Comic-Con, as well as numerous signing and memorabilia shows across America. These efforts in support of hobbyists everywhere helped Pristine Auction win the 2021 Beckett Auction House of the Year Award, a prestigious honor that only speaks to the company’s commitment to the industry. 

The collectibles industry is truly fan-forward, driven by small businesses and independent collectors who live and breathe their favorite teams and players. These fans want to buy, sell, and trade a wide variety of products across the entire sports and culture spectrum, and have flocked to Pristine Auction thanks to its unmatched inventory, dozens of auctions ending daily, and emphasis on affordable prices that allow all collectors to discover their dream memorabilia. Moreover, Pristine Auction has built an expansive fan network on social media, designed to connect people organically and encourage person-to-person trades and swaps outside of the auction format. 

Since founding the company in 2010, Kavlie has taken Pristine Auction from startup to industry leader, working with major players in the sports world and developing new strategies in the larger market. This past year, Pristine Auction ventured into NASCAR to sponsor driver Christopher Bell’s No. 20 car for Joe Gibbs Racing.

“Jared and I have had a relationship for a number of years now,” says Bell. “He is a true sports fan who turned his passion into his job, and I’m excited to grow the Pristine Auction brand and hopefully build a lasting relationship.”

Additionally, Pristine has hosted charity auctions benefiting causes like Phoenix Suns Charities, Youth for Tomorrow, and No Kid Hungry, and recently announced an official partnership with the Arizona Cardinals that will provide exciting opportunities for community outreach and positive impact in the greater Phoenix area.

Sports are changing at an unprecedented pace, spurred on by new technologies and fan demand for closer access and more immersive experiences. Interest in collectibles has never been hotter, and Pristine Auction continues to adapt and evolve alongside the industry, offering new products and innovating new types of auctions while incorporating feedback from both industry leaders and collector communities to support a growing online fan network that will sustain sports memorabilia for years to come. With an immersive new app set to launch in the coming months, the company of 150-plus hard-working employees is quite literally expanding, adding a brand-new building this year to their existing facilities in Phoenix with plans to integrate even deeper into the local sports space. 

Even as live events return and collectors head back to convention halls for in-person trading, Kavlie and team will be there to help support and nurture this special part of sports. Run by passionate fans who put the collectibles industry and community first, Pristine Auction is poised to shape and create the future of fandom.

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